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Test Kits

> From: Jonathan_Kirschner at Energetics_com (Jonathan Kirschner)
> Subject: Re: Test Kits

> Mike Roberts inquired about various test kits:

> I think you might be going overboard on the test kits, Mike.  The only
> ones you really need are the Tetra KH and GH kit (both in one kit),
> and the following LaMotte (or Hach) kits: Iron, Nitrate (low-level),
> and pH.  The rest are optional.

I agree with Jonathan except perhaps his recommendation not to buy a
phosphate test kit.  I have had a phosphate surprise or two--I think for
two reasons:  my tap water has had an occasional phosphate spike, and
every once in a while my tank gets nitrate-limited and I don't realize
it, and the phosphates don't get taken up by the plants and I get the
beginnings of an algae outbreak.  Getting a zero reading for nitrate and
a positive reading for phosphate helped me see that I was probably
nitrate-limited.  Having said that, since buying a Hach (PO-19)
phosphate kit, I have never had a positive reading, not once--so
Jonathan may be right.  If you know what you're doing with the nitrates,
perhaps you don't need a phosphate kit.

I think Jonathan's conclusions summarize a lot of experience and
discussion on this list regarding test kits.  Anyone agree or disagree?

Regards, Steve Dixon